404 Page Not Found Error on All WordPress Blog Posts

I woke up one morning to discover one of my blogs, Left Coast Firearms, was getting a 404 Page Not Found error on every post, and page with the exception of the main page. I was able to go in and edit the posts and pages and update them (so the SQL database was OK), but the 404 error remained.

Thinking that the structure was possibly hacked by pro-gun control freaks, I restored the complete WordPress installation from the last backup. The same problem remained. I even restored from a previous backup and I could still edit the posts, but the source of the elusive 404 error remained a mystery. A final restore from the last backup put the blog back to what I woke up with except I now had a headache that wouldn’t quit.

I checked to see if my DNS routing was working and I verified there was no DNS poisoning. I was in a real quandary and a few friends let me know the blog had problems. I would have laughed, but I had no humor left.

It HAD to be the links, right? It didn’t make any sense, but I went to the Permalink Settings page. I have always used the “Month and name” setting to let searches find the title in the URL. On a whim, I changed the permalink to the “Plain” (http://leftcoastfirearms.com/?p=123) and saved it.

I couldn’t believe it, but the blog site worked. Now, I would have a problem with all referrals to my site, but at least the site was working. I changed the permalink setting back to the month and name setting, saved it and it still worked fine!

Does anyone out there have any idea what could have caused it? Well, at least I have a solution for the symptom.

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